Customer service is important for any business, but for online or tech companies, it is vital. Not only do your services or products require more troubleshooting, but customer service may also be the main human face that you show the world. This may be the only situation in which your customers actually see or talk to a real human, making it much more important to create a welcoming, helpful, kind tone. You have no storefront or salesmen in a shop to present a human touch to your customers. Support sets the tone for what kind of company you are and how well you care for your clients.
Answer the Phone
If your customers can reach someone during business hours, they will feel heard and appreciated. This may mean you need a triage system to filter and screen calls. Only the most important customer service calls should be directed to your or your tech staff. Other calls can be answered by a well-trained answering service or customer support team.
Providing an answering service for your clients shows that you care about their problems and questions, no matter what time of day or in which country they’re located. Answering services ensure your customers can always reach a human when they need to, even if that human is not able to answer their difficult questions or provide complicated tech support. By providing an answering service you ensure that your customers can reach a human and either get an answer or be moved down the path toward an answer by having an appointment set for more complex support.
Social media is not just an advertising opportunity. Customers will use social media to ask questions, seek out support, and connect with your company. If you treat social media as an advertising platform and ignore the social aspect, your customers will feel unseen and unheard.
Social Media Manager
By hiring a social media manager, you can become better at customer service. While managers are specialists at marketing, that’s not all they can do. A manager can help you develop and implement a social media plan that includes customer service. Whether the manager herself helps customers, by answering questions and pointing them in the right direction, or whether she hires someone for that job, she can make a big difference in customer satisfaction with your business.
Revamp Your FAQ Page
Your FAQ page is an important part of customer service. People don’t want to bother you with simple questions any more than you want to be bothered. Make sure your FAQ page is as helpful as possible by frequently updating it to be sure it includes the questions people really are asking. In addition, if you don’t feel like the question has been answered clearly, consider hiring a technical writer to design well-worded and helpful answers.
For many situations and companies, a FAQ page is a better service if you include a video with explanations. For tech support, basic product how-to questions, and complicated instructions, video explanations can be helpful. If you provide a video showing how to do something, it can often take less time and be more clear than writing a multi-step instruction page. Many product companies are now offering most of their instruction manual information in video format and finding it very useful for their customers.
If you find you are getting a large number of repetitive calls, you may need to consider updating your websites and social media to better serve your customers. Most people (although not all people) would rather have their questions answered online using the FAQ page, a helpful video channel, and a basic “about us” page. If you are getting a lot of phone calls asking questions that should already be answered online, such as your operating hours, location, and basic FAQ, your website may not be user-friendly.
Provide your employees with a lot of training. Your phone triage staff need basic training in manners and your company’s culture. They are the first voice your customers hear and one of the most important fronts in your public image. They need to know how to answer all the most basic questions for your business, and you should provide them with a cheat sheet with answers to these questions.
They also need training in specific situations and clear directions on how to help people with more complicated problems. Provide step-by-step instructions or a flowchart leading them to possible solutions and how to get from the initial issue to a final answer- whether that answer is a solved problem, a transfer to tech support, an appointment with a manager or superior, or a refund or replacement.
Customer support staff need to know what they are allowed to do for each situation, and what they are not allowed to do. In which situations can your staff refund a customer? When do they need to provide a transfer to your tech support or another support team? In which situations can they rely on a manager to rescue them from a toxic customer?
If your customer service support people are well-trained and know exactly which things they can and cannot do for your customers, and how to go through possible solutions from easiest to most difficult, your customers will be happier, and your business will lose less money.